Saga The Hour Before Dawn ?- Luke, Han/Leia ROTJ vignette

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Knight_Aragorn, May 2, 2009.

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  1. Knight_Aragorn

    Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 15, 2003
    Title: The Hour Before Dawn
    Characters: Han Solo, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker
    Timeframe: 4 ABY
    Setting: Rebel Alliance fleet rendezvous point off Sullust
    Category: Missing scene

    Summary: Han, Luke and Leia before the battle that would (almost) end the war, EU notwithstanding. :p

    The corridors of the Mon Calamari cruiser were boiling with people ?- command staff and pilots and techs alike, kitted out in all manner of uniforms and civilian wear ?- as Han pushed his way through. Barely controlled chaos was something the Rebel Alliance excelled at; Han mentally classed ?total disorder? as its default setting. This felt different, the bedlam undercut with a grim determination. If the Rebel Alliance didn?t win the upcoming battle, there wouldn?t [i]be[/i] a Rebel Alliance, and everyone from Ackbar down knew it.

    Han reflected, stepping around a short Devaronian he?d never seen before, that his position in this collective spell of suicidal delusion seemed wildly inappropriate. It wasn?t that long ago that it had been him and Chewie and the rest of the universe be damned; shifting cargo and staying up-grav of trouble had been his goal and purpose in life, along with earning enough credits to stay comfortable (even if they inevitably went into the [i]Falcon[/i]?s upkeep). It hadn?t been an ideal existence, not how he?d seen himself living back when he?d stepped out of Shrike?s troopship into the galaxy, but it had been uncomplicated.

    Of course, things had a way of burning whatever you did. Jabba?s fingers were short but his reach was long, and if Han hadn?t joined the Rebels he would have been Jabba?s that much sooner. And that wasn?t a thought he enjoyed. The air felt stretched around him, colours streaked with grey as his vision worked itself to (he hoped, more intently than he was willing to reveal to anyone) full recovery. He?d never been prone to the habit of fidgeting, but found his fingers moving restlessly until he consciously stilled them. Something at the back of his brain was testing, testing, making sure this was real.

    The corridor he needed was blocked by a team of techs checking the fire suppression in the junction. Han elbowed through, essayed a shrug of apology at the supervisor and a smirk at the tech, and entered the port view cluster that he?d managed to charm his way into securing for a last briefing with his team.

    He was a few minutes early, and thought he?d be the first to arrive, but a dark-clad figure had beat him there. Luke stood by the viewport, but was looking towards the doorway as Han stepped in. The expectation in his stance was slightly unsettling; Han did his best to ignore it. ?Han,? Luke said.

    ?Hey,? Han greeted him. ?You get time to sleep??

    Luke frowned slightly and didn?t answer directly, though his strained expression told Han plenty. ?I wanted to speak to you before this all began.?

    Han walked over. ?Yeah??

    ?I?m not sure what?s going to happen once we get to Endor,? Luke said.

    Han waited a beat, then when nothing else seemed forthcoming, said, ?And??

    Luke?s gaze drifted back to the viewscreen. ?I don?t know,? he said, and his voice for a second bled with frustration and something else. ?Everything?s moving so fast; it?s all tangled. I can?t read anything.? He stared ahead, eyebrows drawn, expression irresolute.

    Han looked at the empty space visible through the viewscreen, playing for time as he tried to figure out how to respond. Was it bad luck, to have a Jedi unable to see what was coming? Was he supposed to take it as a warning for the mission ahead? Or was the vision stuff sporadic by nature?

    ?I may have to leave,? Luke concluded.

    Han blinked at him. ?Now??

    ?No,? Luke said.

    Han scanned Luke?s face, but his features, familiar as they were, were unrevealing. ?When we get there?? Han guessed.

    ?Maybe,? Luke said.

    ?Where will you go?? Han frowned. ?This? old friend, again? The one you just came back from??

    Luke lowered his eyes. ?No,? he said. ?That was a last visit.?

    Puzzled, Han took in his expression and stance before of>
  2. Bri_Windstar

    Bri_Windstar Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 27, 2002
    *snags* :D

    Omg, Big Three OT era-ness. :eek: :D My favorite subject matter, hands down.

    I really like the not-quite-tension between Luke and Han in their conversation. It may not be there because the two of them have any strain between them, but each is still dealing with the traumas and indignities from the past year, and Han's obviously is recent because his stint in carbonite just ended. You do a wonderful job of mixing Han's vulnerabilities and uncertainties with the bravado and devil-may-care exterior he likes to keep up. Also well done is Luke's same mix of vulnerabilities and uncertainties kept at bay, but since they're from Han's POV and the full story isn't known, as it were, there's the added bit of cryptic vagueness that feels very right. Han's never been very trusting of the Force. I would argue that he's still not, it's Luke that he trusts. Han just has to be willing to trust that trust :p , having faith that Luke will let him in on what's going on in his own time and that until then he'll keep to the mission.

    The physical descriptions are superb, too. The way Han's sight is still not right, the way both the light and the dark affect him, Luke's tugging at his glove, the way each of them lingers too long on the exposed portion of the internalized vulnerability and the way each looks away quickly when caught. I think the tension there isn't between them as friends, it's the external manifestation of what's going on inside each so prominently that it needs some kind of surface release.

    ?She was terribly cut up while you were gone,? Luke said abruptly. ?It wasn?t obvious ?- you know Leia ?- but I saw it.?

    Han ran a hand through his hair. Luke turned his head a little, looking at him not quite sideways. ?She would have given just about anything to get you back,? he said. ?The Alliance. Herself.?

    Han?s brow wrinkled. ?I didn?t ask for anybody to do that for me,? he said.

    ?No,? Luke said. ?You have it anyway.?

    ?So?? Han said, angry, and not particularly liking it. He hadn?t forgotten Leia?s enthusiastic welcome of Luke, or the way Luke looked at her sometimes. ?What?s it to you??

    Luke?s gaze slipped away. ?I just want you to understand.?

    ?Understand what?? Han said, because the sentence sounded incomplete.

    ?Understand what she?s giving to you. How powerful that is. Whatever happens, you?ve got to be there for her. So that you?re both okay.?

    I love that part. I tried for a smaller snippet, but I didn't know how to break it up. :p I just think that speaks volumes to the reader since we have "outside awareness", if that makes any sense. I think that Luke would have a great deal of concern about Leia even if he didn't know their true relation now/if they didn't even have one just because of how close they are as friends now. But it's all the more poignant now because she's family. It's Leia, but with the added measurement of being his twin sister, which is just another burden he's carrying around alone at this point. Add that on top of Vader and that can of worms, and it's a wonder Luke's not trying to fling himself out of an airlock. Han's reaction is also very well played since he obviously doesn't know the true source of it.

    Speaking of, I really like the deft way that Han's jealousy is played out here. The whole cliche of a running rivalry/jealousy between the two the entire time they're friends in the course of the movies is one of my biggest pet peeves because I think it gets way over done, to be frank. :p I think it does a disservice to all three of them. That being said, there are obvious moments of jealousy in RotJ since Han's been gone for a year and hell, he doesn't know what's happened in that time. So I perfectly get that point of view, and you play the way he'd react and the way he'd be feeling beautifully, both with that cryptic convo and later when he notices Luke and Leia lean in towards each other for that small private convo.

    I also really like the end with Han and Leia. I think it's perfectly natural for Leia to be frustrated and concerned for Luke an
  3. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002
    A new vig! :eek: You must tell me when you post in Saga! I don't look here regularly enough to be sure not to miss things! I'll brb after I read and compose some nice feedback. [face_batting] (Oh, and must compose feedback for your Beyond story, too. [face_blush] )

    Edit: Okay, so I suck at leaving timely feedback these days. My adoration for the story is genuine, however. [:D]

    The first thing I have to comment on is the absolute gorgeousness of the language. I was positively spellbound by the first three paragraphs, and I am so not kidding. I reread them at least twice before moving on to the rest of the vignette. The pace and rhythm and phrasing are perfectly in character for Han, and yet they somehow manage to be beautifully evocative and descriptive and set the stage in exactly the right way. I was really impressed with the balance there, because while I adore Han endlessly, he's not someone I'd look to for poetic descriptions, but that's exactly what I got while Han was still undeniably himself. Just fantastic.

    Puzzled, Han took in his expression and stance before offering, ?Sorry.? He didn?t know who this mysterious friend was; his first guess was that Luke had found himself a lover somewhere, but Leia seemed to think it was related to the Jedi thing. Whoever the person was, they must have meant something, because Luke was still Luke enough that he couldn?t entirely bury his loss.

    Heh, I like both the idea that Han and Leia had discussed Luke's absences and Han's suspicions about just what Luke's doing while he's gone. Perfectly logical conclusion, actually. :p And Han's observation about how Luke handles such emotions is spot on.

    Han?s stomach seemed to twist. ?What?? he said. ?What does that mean? Why say something like that?? Luke still didn?t look at him, so Han moved into his space, finger pointed, using the advantage of his height. ?So help me, if you?re playing some kind of game like Kenobi did, Luke??

    Surprise forced the distraction out of Luke?s eyes, and Han got his first good look at the emotion Luke was covering. He didn?t see blank resignation or some kind of wrongheaded passive deathwish, but he couldn?t place what he did glimpse, except that it looked like it hurt.

    I do love this. I love that Han is so perceptive, that he's instantly frightened that Luke might willingly walk to his death, that he's perfectly willing to intimidate if that would shock Luke back into sense, and that Luke would be hurt by the accusation.

    besides which, Luke was plainly stuck fast on whatever he had himself in knots over, and trying to budge him once he was intent on something was about as useless as attempting a reverse hyperspace jump.

    Ha! So true, and perfectly put. I love that analogy. :D

    ?You weren?t conscious in the carbonite??

    Han swore at him silently and made sure there was nothing to see on his face, either for an old friend or a Jedi. ?No,? he answered shortly.

    Eek. I hadn't thought of that. :eek: It's also interesting to realize just how wide that gap is for Han. It's not something I gave much thought to when watching RotJ, but so much has happened that he wasn't there for, and has to learn all of a sudden instead of gradually, like everyone else.

    Luke?s gaze lingered until it was uncomfortable, then abruptly shifted, as if he?d just realised how unwelcome it was. ?Oh,? he said. He rubbed his fingers together, looked down at his hand, tugged at the edge of the glove.

    Han glanced across and down, and caught a glimpse of melted synthflesh and blackened wire. He grimaced. ?Weren?t you going to get that looked at??

    ?No time,? Luke said. His hand opened and closed, fingers moving in a pattern that Han recognised as the start sequence for an Incom-model fighter. ?It?s working well enough.?

    Han looked at it for a while, until Luke looked up at him and he shifted his gaze. ?How?d it happen, originally?? he asked. ?Damage in your X-wing??

    ?No,? Luke said. ?Vader.?

    The name caught him by surprise, and before he really processed it, Han was caught in a startlingly sharp memory,
  4. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Force Ghost star 4

    Aug 9, 2002
    Ooh, an OT vig! I am in the midst of working on a research paper (all-nighter, woot) but as soon as I get some free time I will return and comment! [:D]
  5. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    Absolutely stunning! As always.

    ?It?s strange to hear that, coming from you,? Luke said. ?Changed your opinion on the Force lately??

    Han shrugged. ?It seems to serve its purpose.?

    Luke didn?t seem too pleased with that response, his jaw tightening as he looked back through the viewscreen. His right hand moved, gloved fingers touching the silver lightsaber fastened prominently to the left side of his belt as if to check it was still there, or for reassurance, or something. He wasn?t as easily baited as he used to be, though; he just exhaled. Then he surprised Han by saying, ?It must be hard, coming back and finding that things are different.?

    Han surveyed the dark viewscreen. ?From my perspective, I haven?t been anywhere.?

    ?You weren?t conscious in the carbonite??

    Han swore at him silently and made sure there was nothing to see on his face, either for an old friend or a Jedi. ?No,? he answered shortly.

    Luke?s gaze lingered until it was uncomfortable, then abruptly shifted, as if he?d just realised how unwelcome it was. ?Oh,? he said. He rubbed his fingers together, looked down at his hand, tugged at the edge of the glove.

  6. PonyTricks

    PonyTricks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2003
    Great job. I loved how both Luke and Han skirted around the edges of the truth, neither one wanting to show any vulnerability for the other to see, even though both men would have been sympathetic toward their friend's problems.
  7. Blue Ice Cream

    Blue Ice Cream Chosen One star 6

    Aug 9, 2006
    Simply brilliant. =D=

    I must say, I'm a sucker for missing scenes as it is, but this would've gotten my attention regardless of that fact. I bow to your writing prowess.

    The conversation between Luke and Han flowed amazingly well with canon. I really enjoyed the way you handled both characters.

    Now if only this was part of the actual movies!

    Ultimately, this was an ingenious idea for a missing scene. I always wanted to see more of the gathering near Sullust. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tale with us.
  8. Atarumaster88

    Atarumaster88 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 7, 2009
    Very enjoyable scene. I thought Han's forced optimism was good, and the descriptions were very nice. I thought Luke was a little too brooding, but it certainly wasn't out of character for him. Good read.
  9. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    I really loved this...sheer perfection. =D=
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    This was amazing. I could feel the holding back on both sides... the sense of not being comfortable with sharing, in conflict with the desire to confide. I don't think it's a matter of trusting one another... it's probably a matter of being afraid of how the other will see you, particularly how Han will see Luke--and at this point there's probably a lot Luke doesn't know for certain so that also adds to the mystery. Enjoyed tremendously the understated but deep intimacy between Han and Leia--but on his part, you can still feel/sense that he's not sure where Luke fits in with Leia. [face_thinking]

    I adore missing scenes, and yours are off the chain.

    [face_love] and very big big [:D] !!!!
  11. LukeSkywalker_2001

    LukeSkywalker_2001 Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 18, 2002
    I liked this story.....:)

    The friendship between Luke, Leia, and Han is clearly demonstrated in this story
  12. dancing_star

    dancing_star Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 24, 2007
    I meant to comment on this a long time ago when it was written, but I just didn't get around to it. :oops:[face_blush]
    I loved it!! [face_love] As all your work, it was very, very well done. Just wanted to say, your writing is wonderful and your nom is totally deserved!! [:D]@};-
  13. ratna

    ratna Jedi Knight star 4

    Mar 1, 2007
    Wow, this is amazingly well written! I'm not usually captured by OT / Luke, Leia, Han fics, but this one is a huge exception. Bravo!!
  14. Terek_Deckard

    Terek_Deckard Jedi Master star 2

    May 18, 2006
    The level of detail and description in this missing scene was amazing.

    Wonderful work, so wonderfully executed. The actual spoken words would have not filled a paragraph, but the it is the bold descriptions and subtleties that surround them that bring this piece to life.

  15. Knight_Aragorn

    Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 15, 2003
    This comes embarrassingly late, but author replies ahoy! And many thanks for the nomination, it's highly appreciated. [:D]

    bri_windstar: I love Big Three stuff! Getting that vibe dead on is not as easy as it seems, is it? There's such an unusual dynamic to catch, but that's why we love 'em. ;)

    Very glad that Han and Luke's relationship worked. That's another one that's not as straightforward as it seems, and especially in this timeframe, because Han's been in the carbonite for that year during which so much has changed for Luke, and they're both dealing with all that internal damage and conflict.

    Thanks for the comments about the jealousy aspect. I know what you mean about it being frustrating when it's overplayed, because you've got to balance the strength of the friendship in there against everything else. (Which the movies actually manage to do quite well, all things considered). I'm glad it worked here.

    Poor Leia must have had a miserable time in that year between TESB and ROTJ, what with Han being missing and Luke in paternal-revelation doldrums. :p

    Over-windedness is never disgusting, and of course I read every word! Extensive feedback is adored and appreciated. [:D] So glad you enjoyed.

    Gabri: My memory is terrible, but I'll do my best to let you know when I post over this way. (Not that it happens as often as I'd like; the Saga-era bug is hopelessly sporadic).

    Thanks for the comment re the language. Han has such a distinctive voice, and couching his POV to match his patterns of speech is always an interesting challenge. :p

    Very glad the interactions worked. It's kind of boggling to realise how much Han's missed, isn't it? When you work out that the last time he and Luke saw one another was on Hoth, that's a fair jump. No wonder he thought Luke's Jedi thing was a delusion of grandeur, back on Tatooine....

    I love the irony of Han being a general while Luke's still a lowly commander. I can see Han being highly bemused by it all. :p And I couldn't not have Wedge work his way in there. :D Thanks so very much for the POV praise. [:D] I do have a couple of other POV-ish fics in the works, depending, of course, on whether they cooperate. :p

    Very much appreciate the lovely feedback. [:D]

    ViariSkywalker: *amused* Oh, I know that feeling. Hope the paper cooperated. :D

    VaderLVR64: Thanks. :)

    PonyTricks: They're both dealing with so much at this point, Luke with his Vader angst, Han with carbonite and wondering exactly what's happening with Leia and him and Luke. :p Thanks so much for reading!

    epithree: I share your affection for missing scenes! I'm always pleased when canon leaves a gap that can be expanded on. Fic potential is never a bad thing. :p Very glad you enjoyed the interactions and the story, and thank you for the feedback.

    Atarumaster88: I have an unfortunate tendency to make Luke a brooder, but maybe I can argue it's the natural evolution of his sizable capacity for whining back in ANH? :p Thanks for reading, and for the feedback. :D

    Valairy_Scot: Thank you. :)

    Jade_eyes: The missing scenes subgenre is a favourite of mine, but being off the chain is a new one for me... Thanks for the reply. :)

    LukeSkywalker2001: Thank you.

    dancing_star: Thanks very much! :D

    ratna: Very glad you hear you enjoyed!

    Terek_Deckard: Thanks very much for the feedback! Glad the detail stood out, and that the fic was enjoyable. :)
  16. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    I'm notorious for running late...but better late than never. This was a really wonderful look at three characters. Excellent!
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